Doylestown Daily Intelligencer - March 6, 1980

Strike Threat Looms


Phillies become the first major league baseball team to authorize a strike


By Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer


CLEARWATER, FLA.-Spring training continues, but where it might lead appears to be quite clouded right now.


There is a concrete threat of a strike by the Players Association unless a new agreement is reached by April 1.


The Phillies, in a two-and-a-half hour meeting with Marvin Miller, executive director of the Players Association, voted 40-0 in favor of such a move.


"It was a good meeting and a bad meeting," Pete Rose said after Wednesday's delayed workouts. "It was good in one respect because the players found out what negotiations are all about. It was bad because it's a lot more serious than people think.


"I don't think any player likes the word strike, but you can only put your faith in Marvin Miller and what he has done in the last 14 years.


"There's no question that the negotiations will help the younger players (salary structure proposed by the owners for players with six or fewer years of service which the players don't want to accept). We have to stick together like we did in '72 and '76 (two previous contract settlements). That's why I have the contract I do. And based on what Marvin Miller said Wednesday, there's a good possibility there will be a strike."


"I can't believe they (the owners) can be that foolish to go through spring training and then have a strike hit them. It would be like cutting off their nose to spite their face," said Phils' player representative Larry Bowa.


"If there was a strike and the season was delayed, when the season would finally start, it would be like starting spring training all over again, and during the regular season," continued Bowa.


According to Miller, the agreement from the owners would have to guarantee they would not take anything that the players have now.


"If there is progress," Miller said, "you'll know it when you see it. But the owners have their own particular way of negotiating. There was very little said today that was new, just the details. They (the players), in their minds, knew what we were going to do."


The two basic hangups, or major proposals of concern, are the owners wanting compensation for players lost through the free agent draft and a proposed salary structure by the owners which would affect all players with six or fewer years of major league service, defining a minimum and maximum amount a player could be paid for any one year.


As an example: Keith Hernandez of the St. Louis Cardinals, who has been in the majors for four years, would be earning $116,000 per year instead of his reported $760,000 annual salary.


Accompanying Miller was Baltimore Oriole shortstop Mark Belanger, president of the Players Association for the American League.


"We just want the owners to know that we are unified," said Belanger when questioned why the vote was necessary. Sometimes I think the owners don't think we are. But I think the last four years (previous contract agreement) has proven it can work for both sides. And the more we meet, the more we become unified."


Representing the Players Association were Miller, Bob Boone of the Phillies, who happens to be head of the National League Players Association, Bob Forsch and Ted Simmons of the St. Louis Cardinals, John Stearns, Pat Zachry and Ray Burris of the New York Mets and Belanger.


The owners were represented by their counsel Ray Grebey, along with American League attorney Jim Garner and National League attorney Lou Hoymes. The meeting lasted for more than two and a half hours.  

Training Camp Routine Disrupted By Strike Talk


By Paul Giordano, Intelligencer Writer


CLEARWATER, FLA.-Wednesday's workouts had to take a back seat to the new pitcher in camp. Marvin Miller, executive director of the Major League Players Association, arrived at 10 a.m., bringing to the Phillies Carpenter Field complex just one pitch...a strike.


His strike could stall the opening of the regular season unless a new agreement between the players and the owners is reached by April l. Miller's pitch, a resolution agreed upon by the 28-member executive board of the players association at its Tuesday meeting, was brought to the Phillies players for a vote, the first such test stop by Miller on his way to visiting all the spring training camps.


The players and Miller met behind closed doors for a little over two and a half hours.


"The vote was 40-0 in favor to give us the authority to strike if we have to," Miller said after the meeting. "It was a show of hands vote. We brought it before the players because we didn't want them to vote on something this important without knowing all the facts about everything.


"You know, we've-had 16 weeks of meetings with the owners and nothing has been accomplished. Still, things have happened and we want the players to be aware of what's going on.


"However, we could still go into the regular season and open on time, play without a contract. But we would have to have a fair and solid agreement with the owners on certain things. The players want this kind of agreement.


"We can't afford to give up what we have now. It would be a step backward and you can forget the union if we give in."


If there is such a strike, it has been reported that at least 80 percent of the players will have to face a non-income period. Only about 20 percent of the players have contract agreements guaranteeing pay if such a strike happens.


-- Dallas Green's "We, not I" philosophy is very much evident in the clubhouse. Two five foot signs hang at each end The "We" is printed in bold, three foot high block letters. "Not I" is also in the same bold print, but half the size.


--Also hanging are two banners, one from the 1976 Eastern Division championship, the other from 1978.


--Larry Christenson is wearing a full beard


--Greg Luzinski is 30 pounds lighter and has shed his on-field contact lenses for glasses.


--Rookie pitchmg hopeful Marty Bystrom remjured his right hamstring muscle when he slipped on the locker room's concrete floor He had to be helped into the training room.


--Minor League first baseman John Poff is being converted into an outfielder. He worked on his outfield play with coaches Billj DeMars and Tony Taylor.


--Mike Anderson (outfield) and John Vukovich (infield) are being groomed as backup catchers.


--Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Bruce Sutler's new $700,000 per year salary is more than the combined total salary of the Cubs' starting pitchers.